Trash Slash Success 2011: So Much Less!
As I sit here now in my Seattle living room, I hear clink and the clank of the neighbors putting out their trash for pickup day tomorrow… and I am not joining them, as I have nothing to put out.
Which has become more the rule than the exception around my house..
…in 2011, I slashed my trash output by 63% from 2010… and 86% since 2008!
Inspired by Bea Johnson of the Zero-Waste Home, Pamela of Family Transition to Resilience and Living Lightly and the Plastic Pollution Coalition, I set a goal a year ago to “Slash My Trash” by 75 % from 2010.
I made it to 63 %, which I think is pretty darn good, especially considering I had a major back yard construction project happen in the middle of all this.
I vowed to try and put out only ONE 12-gallon box a month, and *also* slash my recycling in half, but putting out the 64 gallon recycling cart out only once a month a well (Recycling in Seattle only gets picked up every other week.)
While I missed my goal by seven boxes, these extras being that backyard construction project which added extra refuse, as most contstruction projects do, and a Christmas party, which also adds, I feel very successful.
(As for the rest of the construction project, everything was recycled, reused or given away as best as could be, which was actually pretty high in numbers!)
Everything else was composted.
The big “secret” to reducing trash? Well, as Bea Johnson of the Zero-Waste Home says: REFUSE.
Then reduce, reuse, recycle. (I’d also like to add “repair” to that list, inspired by the “No Such Thing As Waste” music video by “yardiroony”, who says ”There’s no such thing as waste…only stuff in the wrong place!”
By starting to refuse many more things I don’t need, and ESPECIALLY BY REFUSING SINGLE-USE plastics, I have made a HUGE dent in the amount of stuff I toss.
As mentioned in the post before last, going wheat-less and dairy-less in my diet has GREATLY reduced this unwanted packaging,
By doing all the things listed on the “Less Plastic-y Deb” List (See page tab above) I have reduced trash
I have NOT reduced the quality of my life or the creature comforts important to me.
In fact, I feel like my quality of life has IMPROVED: I have lost 30 pounds and two dress sizes, I eat fabulous food, I don’t nearly as many little bits of plastic this’s and that’s floating around, there is less detritus in garbage day, and I HAVE SAVED MONEY.
So, while I am not at Zero Waste…. yet…. I am SOOOOO much closer! And it feels SO good! So light! So healthy for not only me, but for the planet!
And I feel like I have so much more TIME…I never realized before this past year, how much time I spent looking for a trash can to throw out that coffee cup, lids, plastic bags, plastic forks, etc.
So now, it’s time to set a goal for further reduction in 2012: while I would LOVE to get to Bea Johnson’s status of only one jar of non-recyclable trash a year (I know that she is striving towards ZERO), since I am still doing this in increments, I think a reasonable goal for ME is to try and halve my output again…
…in 2012 I am going to try for one 12-gallon box every six weeks (remember, it worked out to every three weeks in 2011) and one recycling can every *other* month (so, six times total)
This means being even MORE diligent about getting off paper mailing lists, shredding what do get (Seattle puts shredded paper in the compost bin) and REFUSE REFUSE REFUSE single-use plastic even harder.
Let’s see what happens! I’m excited to see!